Fleur-de-Links - Oct. 7th: Saints Prepare for Duel in the Desert

Not much new today since the injury report is exactly the same as yesterday's. Pierre Thomas looks like he'll be another game-day decision this week. Jeff Duncan is already saying he expects Ladell Betts to get the start. It may be the wisest move to give Pierre at least another week to heal that ankle. I've seen speculation that it may be a high ankle sprain and Payton just isn't revealing it. Hard to know what the truth is sometimes. I just know his injury looked a lot worse when he was lying on the turf the Sunday before last. Let's just be glad it wasn't as bad as we first thought. Keeping RBs healthy on this team is shaping up to be harder than poking a cat out from under a porch with a wet rope.

TWEETS:

alexbrown96 Sitting here watching the Minnesota and Yankees game and the dude behind the plate already has his Randy Moss jersey lol

HeathEvans Happy wife=Happy life??? Hot wife=Happy life??? Oh well. I've got both so Im covered! I think this might get me a back scratch? #fb

T_Porter22 Up ealrly to get better; in EVERYTHING that I do. I hope u guys take that same mentally. God puts us in situations ... http://tmi.me/22i13

jeffduncantp Betts, no question. And I expect Thomas to be out. RT @BlitzAgain: who do you think will be most productive RB if Thomas is out this week?

jeffduncantp No changes for #Saints RT @wwltvsports: The injury report was the same as Wed's. P. Thomas, R. Bush, W. Smith & T. Porter did not practice.

jeffduncantp Possibly, if Will Smith can't go. @RJJohnson_: think we may finally see Junior Gallette activated this week?

ChaseDaniel Wow!! Thank you so much for all the birthday love! It is overwhelming!

T_Porter22 Another of getting better...if u can't stay motivated u won't last...all about how u respond.

 

SAINTS @ CARDINALS:

Saints & Cardinals Connections
Where the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals have crossed paths.

Forecast: Ready for another weekend of crazy LSU, Saints games? | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
I’ll just come out and say it, "I cannot wait for this weekend’s Saints and LSU games."

Smith, Thomas miss second practice in a row for Saints | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The good news for the Saints on Thursday is that no new players were added to the injury report. The bad news – no one has been removed.

No changes to New Orleans Saints' injury report | NOLA.com
Four players held out of team drills: RB Pierre Thomas, RB Reggie Bush, DE Will Smith and CB Tracy Porter

NFL power rankings - Week 5
1.(1) New Orleans Saints: Needed three critical field goals from new kicker John Carney to put away the Panthers. Something tells me they won't have such a hard time this week against the Cardinals, who haven't proven anything yet to anyone.

In the Numbers: Could this be the Saints’ week? | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
New Orleans is still clawing and battling on offense and defense, trying to put together that full, complete game. This could be the week. Arizona is statistically one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Saints-Cardinals Preview - Oct. 6, 2010 - NFL - CBSSports.com Game Preview
While the New Orleans Saints aren't happy with their offensive production, they can take comfort knowing their Super Bowl MVP is still taking the snaps. The Arizona Cardinals don't have that luxury.

New Orleans Saints hoping for offensive breakthrough vs. Arizona Cardinals | NOLA.com
Unit in position to pounce

New Orleans Saints provide 'thorough' injury report | NOLA.com
Sean Payton reports 19 players are on list

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Parity is rearing its head in the NFL this season: New Orleans Saints First-and-10 | NOLA.com
The Saints and Colts started 13-0 last season, it's unlikely a team can do that this season

New Orleans Saints mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN

Studs and duds: Jones-Drew should feast on Bills defense - USATODAY.com
WR Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints. With three TDs the past two weeks, Moore is the rare Saints player who can get in the end zone. He barely qualifies as a sleeper any more, so be sure to play him against the struggling Cardinals.

New Orleans Saints trivia and tidbits: WHO DAT origins
The phrase's earliest traceable origins go back to the 1870's when it was shouted by jazz club patrons in support of bands performing well. Over the decades, the term became part of everyday conversation with meanings from "Who is that over there?" to "Who are you talking about?"

New Orleans Saints RB Ladell Betts takes advantage of second chance
Given a new lease on his NFL career, the nine-year veteran is out to prove the Washington Redskins wrong for releasing him during the offseason and the New Orleans Saints right for recently signing him to a one-year contract.

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Young’s flexibility boosts Saints — Baton Rouge, LA
"At the beginning of the game, I was the backup free safety and going in as the nickel in the sub packages," said Young, a four-year veteran. "But when I saw Pierson go down, I said, ‘OK, there’s going to be a few more reps.’ When Reis went out, I knew I had to prepare for the strong safety spot."

Why didn't Saints cut ties with sketchy Ornstein? - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
Could there be more trouble for the champs? Well-known associate of head coach Sean Payton and the Saints, Mike Ornstein, has been charged for fraud, begging Larry Holder to wonder; why have the Saints let the guy hang around so long?

Play action not working in NFC South - NFC South Blog - ESPN
New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who generally ranks near the top in every statistical category known to man, does not shine in this one. Brees ranks No. 25 in the league with a 70.6 rating off play action and has yet to throw a touchdown off play action. The same goes for Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman, who is No. 27 in the league with a 65.2 rating off play action. Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen is one spot behind Freeman with a 60.7 rating. Former Carolina starter Matt Moore had a dismal 26.3 rating off play action. Little known fact of the day: No NFC South quarterback has thrown a touchdown off play action this season.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' second son due this month | NOLA.com
Brees' wife Brittany insists she won't let Brees miss a game if baby comes on a Sunday

New Orleans Saints said they're surprised to hear of Mike Ornstein's woes | NOLA.com
Sean Payton said he found out about it when the news broke on Tuesday

New Orleans Saints invite Vandebilt High School football team to Friday's practice | NOLA.com
Houma school lost four students in tragic car accident last weekend, including two football players

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Opening Statement: "Our injury update is very similar to yesterday. (Stanley) Arnoux is full, (Drew) Brees, knee, full, (Marques) Colston, rib was full, Randall Gay, foot was full, (Jimmy) Graham, ankle was full, (Chris) Ivory, knee was full, (Jon) Stinchcomb, shoulder was full, Zach Strief, knee was full, Leigh Torrence, toe was full, (Anthony) Waters, hamstring, full, Jimmy Wilkerson, knee, full, Usama Young, quad, full, Roman Harper, hamstring was limited, Pierson Prioleau, chest, limited, (Jeremy) Shockey, knee, limited. These four players did not practice. Reggie Bush, fibula did not practice. Tracy Porter, knee, did not practice. Will Smith, groin, did not practice. Pierre Thomas, ankle, did not practice

What has prompted this injury list being more thorough?

"At the end of the day, we’re going to try to make sure we cover the full list in an effort to be right on."

Can you talk about Will Smith’s availability?

"He didn’t go in any type of reps. He was out there in walk through. I think we have a chance with him, but we didn’t practice him."

Do you know in advance if the roof is open or closed at University of Phoenix Stadium?

"There’s just a simple weather policy in place. If you look back at history, there was one game last year in December where it was open. Based on the weather, I’d say it’s a 99 percent chance it will be closed. It’s set in advance."

Do you think it will be closed?

"I think it’s almost a certainly it would be closed."

Is it based on temperature?

"The couple teams that have the retractables just set a very simple policy, temperature, inclement weather, whether it’s above this temperature or below it and last year they had one game where it was open. Last weekend they were at 100 degrees."

Isn’t it supposed to be around 95?

"I think it will be above the benchmark they use for open or close."

Is Sedrick Ellis finally becoming the player you hoped he would become when you drafted him? Twice you mentioned his weight. Did you want him to be heavier?

"No, mentioned it because he’s at a good weight. I think a concern sometimes with good athletes like Sedrick is they get too heavy. He’s healthy and he is playing to that level. I think that we’ve seen in this first quarter a guy who’s been productive and disruptive, not only in the passing game with the rush, but also in the running game."

Are you looking to start Randal Gay at corner for Tracy Porter?

"We'll keep that kind of under wraps. Certainly we’ll prepare to play all those guys with Tracy being down. You’re looking at Randall. You’re looking at Patrick (Robinson). You’re looking at Leigh Torrence, those guys."

What can you say the decision of Pierre will come down to? We know he practiced last week?

"The same thing, it will come down to how he feels. For a running back it’s important to see how he can plant and cut off that ankle."

Are you taking a different tack than putting him on the practice field?

"I think the rest is important and we’ll see where he’s at tomorrow."

Do Arizona’s current struggles reiterate the window of opportunity that you’ve stressed?

"Certainly there’s been transition there. I said yesterday with their media that the rosters look different. It seems like it was a few years ago that we played them last in the playoffs. They’re different teams. I think that’s a little bit of the nature of our league with the transition of rosters as quickly as it can happen and then when you have a quarterback like Kurt Warner, that’ s a guy that’s going to be  in the Hall of Fame. That’s a significant loss, but when you watch their games, last week wasn’t a great example…They’ve done a good job of hanging in there. Right now, when you look at their record, this is a team that’s played very well following a loss. I don’t think at home they’ve lost a game following a loss. I believe they're 9-0 at home following a loss. What we have to do ourselves is most important."

 

Cardinals Head Coach, Ken Whisenhunt

Is there anything you’ve seen change with the Saints offense as to why they haven’t been as prolific this year?

"I don’t see anything. They still look like a pretty successful offense to me. When you have a guy like Drew Brees pulling the trigger, you’re always concerned about their ability to make plays. It seems like anytime they need to have something, they’ll find a way to get it done."

 Looking at the final scores of some of your road games you see some high point totals. But is not completely defensive breakdowns?

"I don’t think there’s any question it’s a little like what happened to us last year in New Orleans. We started off good, we’re in the game. We turn it over, give up a couple scores, give up a score on a punt return. That’s kind of what happened to us even last week in San Diego. We had two opportunities early in the game to score touchdowns. We had a penalty on one and we threw an interception on another play and we missed a guy open for a touchdown on another one and then we got sacked out of field goal range. You can’t afford to do that when you’re playing good football teams. That puts us down a little bit and then we’re throwing an interception for a touchdown. We had a stripped sack that put them in the territory again. Those kinds of things, they add up and that’s what happened to us in Atlanta. We had an interception. We had turnovers. It seems like we’ve shot ourselves in the foot a number of times and it’s been unfortunate. Regardless of that, we haven’t played as good defensively as we need to play and it’s been our focus on trying to get that fixed."

 Can you talk about the quarterback situations in that a matter of months you’ve gone from a future hall of famer to an undrafted rookie? Does it show that there aren’t a lot out there?

"I think that’s why so many teams put a premium on that position at finding one. I think that’s why you’ve seen teams give up a lot in trades to get one. That’s why teams pick them in the first pick of the draft because they’re hard to find. We were very fortunate to have a quarterback that played at an extremely high level for two and a half years for us and when you have to make a change, there’s going to be some drop-off, just because of the time and the adjustments you have to make with him. We know there was going to be a little bit of a change. We’re working our way through that. It’s never easy I don’t think to replace a quarterback like that, so we’re doing that."

 Is the report that you’re going to start Max Hall accurate?

"That is accurate. We are going to start Max in this game."

 What does he bring and what did you see from him in training camp to make the switch right now?

"There are a number of factors that go into making this decision. I don’t want to get into those specifically. Max is a guy that’s mature. He’s a little bit older than normal rookies are. He’s had success at college at a high level. He has confidence in what he’s trying to get done. He’s done a good job of managing the game, reading what the defenses are giving you and making good, accurate throws. I certainly understand that he hasn’t started in a regular season game and going against this defense is probably not the best defense to start a young quarterback against. We’re trying to improve as a football team and this is one of the areas where we feel like it’s going to help us."

 Everybody was wondering if the Saints were going to have rust going into a season after a Super Bowl. I’m sure you heard that question a bunch last year. Is that something you found you did have to combat in the year after the Super Bowl season as well as when you were in Pittsburgh?

"I don’t know if rust was the right answer. I think anytime you play in a Super Bowl you have changes in your team and have a number of distractions that you have to overcome. They’re 3-1. They’re obviously doing a good job of that. That’s what’s important. Last time at this year we were 2-2. Last year we started the season 1-2. It was difficult because of the expectations for your team and the distractions you face. Each team handles it differently and obviously the Saints are doing a good job of it because at this point they’re 3-1 and obviously if they made that kick against Atlanta they’d be 4-0, which is not that easy to do."

 You must be pleased with how your team rebounded later in the season. Did things settle down?

"I think we were a team that never had success before and part of the adjustment was dealing with that. I think things did settle down. We relaxed a little bit. We quit pressing trying to be perfect or trying to be that team that everybody (had) the expectations for us and played our game and won some games, which was good for us. We’re hoping that we can do that again this year. This is a tough league. Change is always tough. Trying to get everybody on the same page and working as a team is always a challenge, but it’s an exciting challenge. I think we have some good young players. Hopefully we’ll continue to make progress, even if it doesn’t appear that in a couple of games we’ve made much."

 

RB Beanie Wells

  You guys have had a lot of success over the past two years but this year probably hasn’t started the way you guys wanted it to. Does that speak to how tough the NFL is each year?

"Yes but you have to take into account that we are only through the first quarter of the season. We have played four games and we are 2-2, so we are not terrible (laughter) by any means. We still have a lot more season to play and a lot more games to get better at."

 There have been some reports that some of the Arizona players aren’t happy with the way things are going right now. How is the mental mood in the locker room?

"Personally, I am doing fine. I think we have a locker room full of competitors and competitors want to go out there and win football games and contribute. When we don’t do that, frustration starts to build up and sometimes guys, like myself, say things that you shouldn’t say. It happens and we are all competitors and we all want to go out there and win."

 It was reported that QB Max Hall will get the start for you guys this week. What can you tell us about what he brings to the team?

"Max is definitely a vocal leader. For him to be such a young guy, he still commands the huddle. I am sure he will do well if he gets the opportunity to start this weekend."

 The Saints have struggled against the run this season. What can you and running back Tim Hightower do to take advantage of that this weekend?

"We have to stick to our game plan and work hard in practice. If there are opportunities in the run game we have to take advantage of them. We definitely have to stick to our game plan and not do anything out of the ordinary for us. Larry (Fitzgerald) is right here next to me and he says he wants the rock."

 Do you guys feel you are still able to present a balanced attack with the changes you guys have had at quarterback and the loss of Anquan Boldin?

"I defiantly think so but it is something that is going to take time. We have to develop a type of chemistry with the changes at quarterback but I think we will be fine. Like I said before, it’s a long season and we have time to progress, get better and get comfortable in our positions. I think we will be alright."

 Coach Payton and Drew Brees said today that Arizona has a successful system and that they prepare for the system and philosophy that you guys have shown. Do you agree with that?

"In a way but we really can’t compare what I agree with or what somebody else says. We have to stick to what we do best and our job and continue to get better in the progress."

 I take it from your answer that you guys are still confident in the offensive scheme that you guys are running? 

"Definitely - without a doubt. Our coaches do a great job and we have had success in the past and we had our bumps in the road so far but I think we will be alright."

 Playing in the Superdome everybody knows that the big advantage is the crowd noise for the home team. Is there any significant advantage for you guys playing at home?

"I definitely hope so this weekend. I am hoping our fans will be riled up at the stadium and cheering us on."

 Are you more motivated to win this game knowing it is against the defending Super Bowl Champions?

"I don’t think we take it that way. We just want to go out there, play hard and come out with a victory because we haven’t done that for a full game this year. Play great from start to finish. That is something we want to accomplish this weekend."

 How about playing the team that knocked you guys out of the playoffs this season, does that give you more of an edge?

"Some guys may say it definitely does but not for me. I am taking every game the same. I want to go out there and win regardless of who it is."

 

VIDEO:

Saints Vlog: October 7 - Will heat be on in Glendale?

New Orleans Saints offensive line discusses their success: video | NOLA.com
NFL Network video

Jeff Duncan's 4-Minute-Drill: video

Sean Payton on facing another rookie QB

saintsvid

New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals Black and Gold Report video

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